Be. Leadership July 2016: Leading Innovation and Regeneration

by Sean Parker

The Garden City, the city of old, the city of new, the city of hope – Christchurch, our host city for Session Five of Be.Leadership 2016.

After six weeks apart it was awesome to be reunited with the Be. Leadership family on the first morning at the refreshingly welcoming Sudima Christchurch.

For those of us who have only followed the rebuilding of Christchurch through media, this was going to be the opportunity to hear from the people on the ground how they were regenerating their beloved city.

Day one:

We were all mesmerised by the energetic Margaret Jefferies in the morning. Margaret heads up Project Lytteton and is also involved in a number of groups making a change. Margaret spoke in detail how the development of Time Banking has developed the community's sense of unity by utilising everyone's strengths.

We were all able to take away from the session the belief that any negative can be reframed into a positive to go forward and to keep having fun.

Post-lunch, Andre Lovatt, the chairperson of Regenerate Christchurch and CEO of the Christchurch Arts Centre, spoke to us about the joy he gains from restoring memories and creating exciting futures by getting the Arts Centre back in action in half the expected timeframe.

Andre emphasised the need for Regenerate Christchurch to rebuild confidence in the residents to achieve successful outcomes and dynamic futures for an intergenerational city.

Day Two:

Saturday morning dawned fine and crisp, ideal weather for us all to be treated to an UberASSIST-driven convoy around the Central Business District and, for some, the Eastern suburbs into the Red Zone where whole suburbs have disappeared.

It was here where the scale of the city's regeneration was plain to see with new buildings, colourful parks, playgrounds, shops and bars re-emerging.

We were all anticipating hearing from the current Christchurch mayor,Lianne Dalziel, after lunch and we were not disappointed. With gusto and a breath of fresh air, Lianne is bringing forth a city that is reflective of the diversity of its people.

Lianne made it clear that the city is in a unique position of opportunity to be safer, smarter, sustainable and accessible to everyone. Lianne wears a necklace that reminds her of what is important as a leader: the words on the necklace say, “The most courageous act still is to think for yourself. Aloud.” Lianne also said the beads reminded her to be resilient in times of leadership.

Like most of our speakers this year, Lianne held tightly to the concept of resilience as a way to bounce back and restore faith and belief. Key points in Lianne's speech, that was also highlighted by Margaret and Andre on day one and that I will take with me, were the belief that leadership is about seeing and using the strengths in others. She also reframed the motto, “the wisdom of the community always exceeds the knowledge of the expert,” saying that she thought the wisdom of community coupled with knowledge of experts almost always exceeds what one can achieve with one and not the other.

Day Three:

After a night celebrating the Hurricanes win in the Super Rugby, the third and final day was all about group work. We were challenged to relook at where we were in our leadership journeys and if these thoughts had changed since the beginning of the year.

Lesley and Philip also asked us to consider how we work with goal setting, and introduced us all to the concept of CLEVER goal setting where you become courageous in leaving a legacy and rejoicing in the successes.

Session six awaits us back in Auckland.